Sentencing and gun rights - Minnesota Lawyer

If you were charged with a felony but convicted of a gross misdemeanor, your Minnesota gun rights should not be affected.

The federal government denies individuals the right to purchase, own, or possess a firearm if they have been convicted of a felony level offense. A “felony” is a crime punishable by more than a year in prison. However, even if you are charged with a felony, it’s possible that you will be sentenced in a way that makes your offense a misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor. In those cases, you may plead to the elements of a felony offense, but the judge imposes a sentence of 365 days or less. If that happens, your crime, by definition, is not a felony.

Unfortunately for many Minnesotans, the federal government may not understand this when they see the conviction. It’s common for individuals to receive the benefit of a gross misdemeanor sentence but still receive a denial by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). In fact, the language on the denial letter will state that you were convicted of a “crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year.” Obviously, this is incorrect in these circumstances. Based on this obvious error, you would think that the process to overcome the denial would be simple. Unfortunately, that’s not necessarily true. There is a formal process for correcting the issue with NICS. Because the process can be lengthy, it’s important that you work with an attorney who deals with this regularly and knows the best way to present the appropriate information.

If you believe you have been wrongfully denied when attempting to clear a NICS background check, contact the attorneys at Leverson Budke, PLLP to discuss your Minnesota gun rights restoration case.

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